New Delhi: The Centre’s green panel has given clearance to Tata Steel for diversion of about 199 hectare of forest land for expansion of its iron ore mining project in Keonjhar district, Odisha. “The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) under the Union Environment Ministry examined Tata Steel’s proposal during last month’s meeting and recommended granting forest clearance," a senior government official said.

The FAC has suggested that the ministry should give final clearance subject to some conditions, the official added. Normally, the ministry gives final nod to projects based on the recommendations of the FAC.

As per the proposal, the company has sought permission for diversion of 199.1 hectare of forest land, including 2.2 hectare for safety zone, for iron ore mining and allied activities in Katamani mines in Deojhar and Thakurani Reserved Forest, Keonjhar district.Out of the total forest land proposed to be diverted, 57.55 hectare is reserved forest. As many as 49,600 trees are required to be felled in the virgin forest land.

Total cost of expansion of Katamani iron ore mine project is estimated at 45 crore up to production level of 5 million tonnes per annum. The iron ore produced from the Katamani mine will be supplied to steel plants of Tata Steel and its group companies.

This mine is one of the major sources of supply of high grade iron ore to its largest plant in Jamshedpur. Tata Steel has manufacturing operations in 26 countries and employs around 80,500 people. PTI